The HSE in collaboration with St James’s Hospital, Dublin is introducing Nalox-Home, a pilot initiative designed to promote harm reduction among people who use drugs.
The announcement is made to mark International Overdose Awareness Day 2023.
Nalox-Home provides free naloxone kits to patients who attend the St James’s Hospital emergency department (ED) and have experienced or are at risk of an opioid overdose. The pilot is a collaborative effort between the St James’s Hospital Emergency Medicine Department and Inclusion Health Service, and the HSE National Social Inclusion Office.
Nalox-Home includes a brief overdose awareness intervention delivered to patients at risk of opioid overdose, both upon discharge from the ED or after an inpatient admission. Central to the project is the prescription and provision of take-home naloxone, a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of opioids.
“With opioids implicated in seven out of 10 poisoning deaths identified by the Health Research Board’s (HRB) latest figures in 2020, and 57.5 per cent of those individuals accompanied by someone who may administer naloxone, the availability of naloxone can be crucial while waiting for medical care to arrive,” said Professor Eamon Keenan, HSE National Lead, Addiction Services.
“By removing barriers to naloxone access, Nalox-Home offers hope through overdose awareness interventions and take-home naloxone for patients with a history of opioid use, as well as reducing stigma, supporting harm reduction and ultimately it will save lives.”
In 2020, Ireland experienced 409 poisoning deaths, a trend that has been on the rise since 2016.